Find Your Game

I have been playing the game of golf since I was 7 years old. I love the game. Trouble is that I suspect I was a better player when I was 14 than I am today. In fact, I am sure of it. Back then I had the luxury of playing a whole lot more often. There were days in the summer where I would head out in the morning, play 18 holes, stop for lunch, play another 18 holes, and stop for a snack before heading out again for a quick nine before dinner. With that kind of practice, I came to the tee very loose, no pressure. Five-foot putts were literally child’s play, not the knee-knockers that they seem to be today, but I digress.

A common trait among all golfers is to constantly be keeping an open mind to new ideas about how to play the game better. After awhile you find that you play much better with a clear head and that there is a bit of sportsmanship, even a spirit to the game that makes playing it the right way an end in itself. Twenty years ago there was a TV ad campaign by a golf-club manufacturer featuring an ancient looking Scotsman out on a traditional links that seemed to summarize the spiritual side of golf. The old man looked directly into the camera and said, in a Scottish brogue, “Find your game.” Whoever came up with that line really knew the game of golf and what makes golfers tick. You can have the best mechanics and best equipment, but if you don’t come centered and ready to play, the game will always elude you.

The vast majority of remodelers got into this business with an early love for what they do. They work their craft and run their businesses with a passion very much like an avid golfer approaches the game. But the playing field does shift. The remodeling market has clearly moved in new directions as a result of lower home prices and a general economic downturn. And just as a golfer adjusts his or her game to adapt to windy or treacherous conditions, a remodeler in today’s market must do the same.

I suspect that a good many of you, as you read this, have slugged it out pretty hard during the first eight months of 2009. You have marketed smarter and more effectively. You have tuned up your sales process. You scaled back your overhead. And you have even changed up your service offering to take advantage of new realities. Your focus has never been more intense. By this point in the year, I suspect you could be feeling a bit burned out, searching for a way to generate a new burst of energy. Do not ignore this impulse.

Even though you may be busy with summertime production, be sure to take a long weekend and get away from it all. Gain some positive perspective on the work you are doing. Keep the local playing conditions for remodeling firmly in mind as you relax and take a big picture look at your business and how it may best fit this shifting market. Chances are there is a market opportunity out there — energy-efficient remodels, new windows, affordable kitchen jobs — that just might open the door to a whole lot of new business that will give you and your team the boost of energy you will need as the market continues to head toward recovery in 2010.